HBS alum, Aaron Mitchell, MBA 2011, provides an update on his career post-HBS. 

Current Position: Lateral Recruitment Lead – Asia Pacific ResourcingCurrent Location: Singapore

Tell us what you’re up to these days. When not home sharing in the joys of parenthood with my wife (who is also working full-time in a high pressure career), I am helping to build a comprehensive talent acquisition strategy for the Asia Pacific region of a major multi-national company. It’s big and complex, and the hiring volumes are daunting, but the opportunity is real and within reach. I am primarily involved in the activity of change management. We have to change culture and attitudes in order to change the way we acquire talent. Aside from spending 70% of my day between MS Outlook (sending and receiving hundreds of emails a day), MS Excel and PowerPoint (Analyzing and presenting data and building business cases) I am also taking calls from almost every corner of the region, and spending a lot of time attempting to define processes and procedures and inspire people to do things differently than they are doing them now. It’s not easy, but it’s exactly what I want to be doing and I am excited to turn on my laptop, at work and at home!

How has having an MBA impacted your career? Every day I am faced with an issue to which there is usually no real precedent and thus no clear answer. The training I received at HBS is directly applicable to my job today. In my current role I am developing strategies that will help change the way we recruit in the Asia Pacific region. Without any previous experience in the region, I have a point of view on a variety of issues by analyzing and synthesizing varying amounts of data and then making decisions; I lead using a variety of leadership styles, most by influence even in situations where I have direct authority; I manage to do more work than I have time to do by prioritizing, communicating and delegating while not skimping on my family and extracurricular activities (depending on how you define skimping). It’s not just about the work, but the attitude toward the work and it’s integration with your life. This was a reality during my time at HBS and prepared me to jump in head first into a career that is equally as demanding. The course load at times felt overwhelming when you add all the other moving parts, but now it seems like second nature. The MBA not only made me a candidate for this type of work by simply having the educational qualification, but made me very comfortable succeeding by conditioning me for a life full of asymmetrical demands.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Where will the next chapter take you? I view the next few years as a refinement of the lessons I learned at HBS; putting theory to practice. I have spent my career in Human Resources and continue to see the potential for the function. So many CEOs say the same. In 5 years, I would like to be on the short list of executives with a track record for building and sustaining a Human Resources function that brings value to the business. One of these values will come through better management and analysis of data that connect the human element to business results. It will not be an easy road, especially since a number of very intelligent business people and scholars alike have taken a crack at it. I have the opportunity to create this type of value in my current role and I am excited about building on this over the next 5 years.

- Aaron Mitchell, MBA 2011